Pacific Ring of Fire

It would take some really giant steps to walk the entire length of the Pacific Ring of Fire and there’d be need to do a good bit of swimming, too, but it would be a journey along the earth’s most active area for volcanoes and earthquakes. The journey, almost 25,000 miles long, gets its name from the hundreds of volcanoes that line the route.

You could start in Antarctica and swim over to New Zealand, then take a couple of giant steps to the west to cross just north of Australia. From there, it’s just a short hop, skip, and a jump to Java, Sumatra, and Bali before turning north through Indonesia, the Philippines, Japan, Korea, China, and on to Russia.

From Russia, you’d need to follow the Kamchatka Peninsula east to the Bering Sea, which separates Russia from the United States. A quick swim east, across the icy Bering Sea, will get you to Alaska’s Aleutian Islands chain, where giant steps, one island per step, would take you to the Alaskan mainland before turning south along Canada’s Pacific Ocean coastline.

Keep walking south through the United States, where you’ll travel through Washington, Oregon, and California before arriving in Mexico. Don’t stop here, though. Keep going south, through Central America and into South America, where you’ll walk through Columbia, Ecuador, Chile, and Peru before needing to go for another swim.

This time, the swim will be once again through the scary cold waters off Antarctica, putting you right back where the journey began. Many of the volcanoes in Antarctica are buried under sheets of ice hundreds of feet thick but a few of them are so tall they can be seen above the ice.

At every step of this journey, the Pacific Ocean will be just over your right shoulder. It’s like walking along the entire shoreline of a lake, except it’s the very biggest ‘lake’ in the world, a lake ringed by fiery volcanoes.

Along the way, you’ll find 452 volcanoes. Some of them are still active and likely to erupt at any minute, spewing fire and melted rocks for miles and miles and miles in all directions, but some of them are dormant, meaning they will probably never erupt again. The Pacific Ring of Fire is the address for 75% of all volcanoes on planet Earth.

Where there are volcanoes, there are usually earthquakes, too. The Pacific Ring of Fire is where almost all the earthquakes (90% of them) happen. Of the biggest and most destructive earthquakes, 80% of them happen along the Pacific Ring of Fire.

So many earthquakes occur along the Pacific Ring of Fire that, no matter how many days it takes to make the complete circle, you’d find an earthquake every single day. Not all earthquakes are big enough to cause harm but they’re all earthquakes just the same.

Your 25,000-mile journey along the Pacific Ring of Fire is sure to be exciting and a lot of fun, too. Just be sure to wear some really good walking shoes. You’re going to need them.